HTC – the other Windows Phone manufacturer

By Doug Miller

clip_image002I have been reading about the debacle of faked Nokia Lumia 920 images and video and I am amazed that everyone talks about Nokia as though they are the only manufacturer of Windows Phones. In fact, HTC has the brilliant Titan II Windows Phone now that already has features Nokia is trying to pretend it has.

I switched from using a Samsung Infuse Android phone as my primary smartphone to an HTC Titan II running Windows Phone 7.5 last May. I had originally gone with the Nokia Lumia 900 but ended up taking it back when I experienced the dreaded pink-spot-in-white-background-pictures bug. I then tried the HTC phone and found it to be one amazing device. It supports both HSPA+ and LTE fast data connectivity on AT&T’s network (including using the phone as a mobile hotspot), includes a 16 megapixel camera and has an excellent 4.7 inch screen. The device is rock solid and I really like Windows Phone OS as a mobile platform. It just works. It is my most reliable email device. Phone calls work really well from the People tile or if you create individual tiles for your friends. The performance is always fast and consistent. It doesn’t crash. It is great – except there are a number of key apps that are not available on Windows Phone (DropBox, RoboForm, various music apps, boating apps, Flipboard, a useable Skype, etc.). So I have tended to go back and forth between using the Android-based Infuse and the Titan II. The Android phone has lots of apps and works okay but tends to be unreliable. Last week I had problems with a new app draining my battery in an hour, the GPS simply refused to work and performance is very inconsistent. So I am back with the Windows Phone this week.

But coming back to the Nokia camera scandal, I want to again emphasize that the Titan phone has an amazing camera today.

If this device was a dedicated digital camera instead of a smartphone with a camera, you would be blown away. It already has image stabilization for both photos and video – and it works (this is similar to what Nokia got in trouble for faking in its ads). It has scene modes, smile capturing, face detection, user customizable settings for brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, ISO. It’s got red eye reduction, flicker adjustment and various metering modes plus various flash settings. It does panorama shots and burst shots. It does effects such as B&W and sepia. Plus photos are automatically uploaded to SkyDrive. It’s got as many or more settings as my Nikon DSLR – yet it is a phone. Insane.

No one talks about HTC. It’s really too bad.

The other thing that drives me crazy are journalists who dismiss the current Windows phones because they’re not dual core, or have less RAM or the processor is slower than whatever is on Android. They have obviously never used a Windows phone. There is no comparison for consistent response time and speed between any Android device I have tried (I have six of them) and a current Windows phone. Android seems to need 2-4 cores just to boot up these days. I wish my PC was as responsive as my Windows phone.

On that subject, we’ll see what happens with the transition to Windows 8 for both phones and tablets. I have to say I am a little nervous. Plopping the NT kernel on a phone let alone a tablet seems like a bad idea. Too much baggage. Plus, will the developers who bet on WP7 be ready to rewrite their apps to WP8? Never mind them. Will the other big mobile apps finally come over to WP8? I’m not even sure they’ll come over to Windows 8 tablets. Did you see the AllThingsD review of the new TiVo Stream? They don’t even support Windows. iPad, iPhone and maybe Android. Scary times. It is going to be a very interesting next 6 months.

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